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En route to a visit home. Looked longingly at the bar car as my feet aptly continued walking me by. On this day a year ago I was living with an enigmatic rock band, driving somewhere along I-95 or 84 or 15 in a practically deplorable, hot, muggy mini-van, affectionately called The Jam Van. We bought him for $200 and he continued to prove his every dollar by breaking down anytime we got over 50 mph. I was drinking then and my audible search for oblivion came to a halt when The Jam Van shit the bed requiring us to take him to urgent care where a man with lobster-claw hands would sew him back together and put us back on the road.

Today I’m heading home and all I can imagine it being is quiet. Largely empty. Even lonely. What a stark visual contrast from a year ago. I’m not sure if finding balance or keeping it, is a more accurate description of what I find slightly difficult. Either way I think there’s more to go at the moment and for now it’s not plummeting to the ground and I can breathe so fuck it.

Lately, everything reminds me of the psych ward. Things I read, things I see, things spoken. I don’t know why. Part of me wonders if it’s because everything is going fairly well right now and people, specifically new business people I respect, are taking me seriously. They think I’ve got it together, that I always have. It’s like I want to cry out “I’ve been locked up!” “They once called me crazy.” “Horrible things have happened.” “This has all been a hoax.” In real life, I don’t want them to know or anyone to know but it’s like this suppressed urge to scream. It feels like I’m lying. Or I just want to warn people. Maybe it’s self sabotage. I recently read that the only thing that has shame is shame.

The first night I was checked in, they walked me through a maze of hallways. The walk to the locked ward took a good 15 minutes when in reality it could take 2 but instead of a straight shot they’re walking you up and down stairs, through halls, on an elevator, off an elevator, on a different elevator, back on a floor you’ve already seen, corners you recognize, the same piece of chipped tile you’ve walked over twice. Then you reach the door, completely disassociated and geographically alienated. No one speaks to you.

When you get in, one of the initial things they do is assess your physical state. Mainly for liability reasons. They don’t want anyone suing them for damages after the fact. They take this 8×10 computer paper that has an outline of a face-less ginger-bread boy printed on it, you strip naked and with a pen they document all the marks ever made on your body. The time you fractured your knee cap at school, the time the boy across the street threw a rock at your head, the time you couldn’t stop picking at your skin, the first time someone punched you in the face, the second time someone punched you in the face. Slowly the ginger-bread boy becomes your body. The process is repeated weekly to make sure you haven’t added anything.

I recently impressed people at my job by auto-recalling how to convert kilograms to pounds. When you get admitted to the psych ward they weight you in kilos so that you can’t understand the number. An 11 year old Jewish girl who was on her third stint their, taught me the conversion. We slept in a big room with about 15 beds, she and I were next to each other. The worst part about the sleeping arrangement was only the fact that having someone on your left and on your right side renders you completely exposed. If you were going to cry, there was nowhere to turn your head, someone’s eyes always met yours.

There are things you experience that permanently mark you. It’s not positive or negative, it just is. I just don’t like the feeling of physically carrying it. Constantly remembering it throughout the day. Hearing it, feeling it on my shoulder.

Piss off parrot.

– JT

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